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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Dembski Bombs in Kansas

Red State Rabble was there and has a first hand account. Several other pro-science blogs add their two cents.

Dembski, who may have been led to expect a warmer reception for his ideas -- he was in Kansas, after all -- seemed to grow testy as questioner after questioner expressed doubt about his assertion that evolution is a failed theory and that patterns in nature are best explained as a result of intelligence.

Dembski, who was both expansive and patient early in the question and answer period -- even allowing follow up questions -- became more combative, frequently interrupting questioners to ask them to get more quickly to the point, as it became clear that many in the audience, perhaps a majority, remained unconvinced.

One young woman, apparently frustrated by the apparent sophistry of Dembski's demand that evolution explain every single step in the evolution of bacterial flagella, while refusing to provide a similar step by step explanation of how intelligent design might have acted to create biological structures, repeatedly asked Dembski to cite physical data or observations that support intelligent design.

Dembski responded by saying that she was asking him to give a different talk. After further prodding, he urged her to read one of his papers.

Dembski's assistant over at his blog tries to spin this as a win for Dembski.

Kudos to SOMA - the Society of Open-minded Atheists and Agnostics - who did by all accounts were quite effective at challenging Dembski at this forum.